I was eagerly awaiting the premiere of Marco Polo on Netflix. Not just because it could be a potential binge marathon like Orange is the New Black or House of Cards. The reasons for my anticipation were three-fold. 1. I had auditioned for one of the starring roles in the series and I was dying to see who actually booked the role and how she played the role. I had been told that if this role would be game changer for the actress who booked it, “breakout” leading role on Netflix, produced by The Weinstein Company 2. The series was slated to be an epic Game of Thrones-esque period piece starring a mostly Asian cast. It was very ambitious series with reports that the total budget was at 90 million, the most expensive television budget to date. 3. The success of this series could encourage other studios to cast more Asian talent in film and television projects.
Although the series was not met with positive reviews (it was boring), I applaud Netflix for tackling a project with so many lead Asian characters
I did not book the part, in fact I absolutely bombed the audition. Ultimately Olivia Cheng (in the photo above), an Emmy Award winning actress, won the plum role of Mei Lin. I don’t think I am a terrible actress, I believe that I am decent. I do however lack the passion for acting – for the craft. I enjoy being on set and working on a role, but definitely do not eat, sleep and breathe acting. I wish that this was something that I realized earlier on- the importance of pursuing something that you are absolutely passionate about it – because that passion does really magically open doors.
Anyhow the audition was super awkward, they wanted black hair so I was wearing this uncomfortable wig. Here were the original audition SIDES. The audition consisted of two scenes. The first scene was super legit, requiring quite a range of depth and emotion. But here are the lines for the second scene:
INT. HANGCHOW – BED CHAMBER OF SILK _ DAY
MEI LIN rides atop the breathless GOVERNOR OF HANGCHOW. Naked — her hair up in a coiled bun, held by a jade ornament — her shoulder reveals a vibrant tattoo of a dragon coiled around a rose vine.
White Tiger enters the Jade Portal. Do you know this game?
Whatever it is she is subtly doing with her ass, half lit by candles, is pushing the politician to the verge of cardiac
Then she stops, suddenly, like a skilled mime. With his other hand, the Governor sets down more money. She looks at the purse out of the corner of her eye as she slides like liquid silk over him…moving into “Dragon rolls the Pearl”
How much did you pay my brother for this opportunity, Governor
More porcelain than hes ever seen
Mei Lin raises her arms, dance-like, her hands in her coiled bun. She removes the jade ornament and lets her hair cascade long and loose. He almost passes out over her legendary beauty….and then she puts the jade pin to his throat. His eyes widen in terror….an assassination?
Don’t fear, Governor, This is part of the game you paid for. The Danger Game. You are but a lowly worm…
Mei Lin, the most dangerous fuck in China, rides the white tiger.
How could you audition this scene with a straight face? I couldn’t. I suppose a professional actress could. Ultimately, I didn’t feel great about this audition beyond the fact that I had not performed well. I was not comfortable with the content of the second scene and not even sure if I wanted to be nude in this project (showing nudity on a movie set is way different than nudity in a photo shoot). However I was advised that I should audition anyways and if I booked the part I could just turn it down. I was also unhappy that I took the advice to wear a wig, I love my bleached blonde hair and I would have felt more sexy and comfortable as a blonde. If I had been more passionate about acting I would have stood firm on my opinions but since I was wishy washy about the whole thing, I was not firm on what I thought was best for me.
My old acting headshots
Why was I pursuing acting at all? Well….. I kind of fell into acting. I had been working as an import model, and then began pursuing an acting career and along the way I racked up half a million friends on Myspace. At that point I was constantly approached with acting opportunities, a few legit, mostly bs. I was approached by a manager who was working at the very reputable Buchwald & Assoc. agency and he started to send me out on some very legitimate auditions. Early on with I booked a very visible speaking cameo on Fast and the Furious, Tokyo Drift and a ton of hosting roles. I even signed up with an amazing acting teacher and acting class. (Shout out to Sal Landi!). This was all very fun and I got this little ego boost every time I was up for an audition on a well known project. However, in retrospect I can see that perhaps my casual pursuit of an acting career (which ended up being very time consuming) took my focus away from my real passion at the time, which was being a singer and a performer. I ultimately decided not to pursue acting as a career at all.
What I have learned with all my career paths and detours is that following your passion is the most important thing above all else. Anything else is just a waste of time. It’s so easy for many of us to get distracted by the fluff and the glamour, the money and the fame. On the way we forget about what’s really important. My passions have evolved and changed over time. Currently I am discovering a buried passion of writing. I used to blog and write on a regular basis in the days of Live Journal, Xanga and Myspace but when Myspace died I just stopped cold. It feels good to be back